Police radios allow better communication with school officials

Sixteen hand-held radios will be given to officials at eight Kingman schools this summer to cut response time and to allow direct communication between staff and Kingman police officers during emergencies.

Two radios each will be given to Kingman High School South Campus, Kingman Junior High School, Manzanita, Palo Christi and Hualapai elementary schools and the three campuses of the Kingman Academy of Learning, KPD Lt.

Ray Sipe said.

The radios, costing more than $5,200, will allow the schools to have a direct line with a police officer responding to an incident.

Currently if an incident at a school requires the police or fire departments, a teacher or school staff has someone, usually a student, tell the school secretary who then calls dispatch, who then directs the police officer to the scene, Sipe said.

With the radios, several minutes can be saved and a more direct line of information created between patrol officers, as well as the police department, and the school staff.

The radios, however, would not replace the 911 emergency system, he said.

"This is not to be used by them (school staff) to talk back and forth," Sipe said.

"The sole purpose is for public safety.

Medical, fire and law enforcement related incidents only.

This will enhance our ability to respond to an incident at a school."

A radio repeater and other equipment will be installed next week at KPD's radio tower off Hualapai Mountain Road and at the police department.

The equipment costs an additional $18,000, he said.

KPD now uses nine radio frequencies.

The new frequency will be only used for communication between KPD and the schools.

Police officers and school staff will be using the summer months to train with the radios, he said.

"We'll be setting up procedures in time for the new school year," Sipe said.

"It will allow officers to evaluate the situation better, to talk with someone on the scene and make the determination what additional resources are needed."

Sipe said it will be up to school officials to decide who will be using the two radios.

School resource officers at the junior high school and the high school's south campus already have their own portable radios.

Kingman Junior High School Principal Bill Harness said he hasn't decided yet who would be using the radios.

"Instant communication with the police department in the event of a crisis would be very helpful," Harness said.

"A lot can happen in a few seconds.

Maybe save a life.

The main goal is to make the school safer."

The radios will also allow better communication during practice emergency drills at schools as well as during an actual school crisis where officers are on the scene for a prolonged period of time, Sipe said.